A woman whose home was destroyed by wildfire in Lytton, British Columbia, broke down in tears when she learned that her seven puppies along with her adult dogs survived the blaze.
Lytton became the hottest place in Canada on June 28, 2021 when temperatures soared to 49.6C (121.3F) degrees, shattering Canada’s weather records. Two days later on June 30, the town caught fire. Residents had under 15 minutes notice to flee area as the fires raged through the streets. Those away from home could not return to fetch belongings or pets. Those that were, did what they could.
“Within about 15 minutes the whole town was engulfed in flame,” Lytton’s Mayor Polderman told the BBC. “People basically just grabbed their pets, grabbed their keys and got into their car and fled.”
But Tricia Thrope wasn’t so fortunate. She tried to get back to her hobby farm to save her animals but couldn’t. She and her husband drive a school bus and were asked to help evacuate residents. But Thorpe told Castanet that when she and her husband Don Glasgow tried to drive home, they were forced to evacuate.
“As I was coming down the hill [from the school] the whole town was on fire, it was burning from one end to the other,” she said. “All you could see was all these buildings burning. It was incredible. I got to the bottom of the hill to turn up to our road, and the fire guys stopped me. They said I had to turn around and I had to do it now, because the fire was coming this way.”
The blaze decimated 90% of the town and Thorpe was unsure any of her animals had survived. She couldn’t go back to the property because it was unsafe, and so she posted a plea to the town’s Facebook group page if anyone was in the area could they check her farm. After waiting anxiously for several days, she finally heard from BC Wildfire Service firefighters, who stopped by her property.
They found seven puppies alive along with three of their four adult dogs, four sheep and alpaca.
Wildland firefighter Jamie von Sacken posted in the “Lyttonites” Facebook group Saturday along with a photo.
The firefighters gave the animals food and water. Von Sacken wrote: “All 7 pups are ok and in good spirits, adult dogs too (although the mom was a bit tired). We gave them fresh clean water, puppy chow for the day and even scrounged a few marrow bones and kibble for the adults and will check on them again tomorrow.”
The firefighters also gave alfalfa pellets and water to the alpacas and sheep. They promised they would speak to their “ops team” about getting people back in to “see to their animals.”
“It was like a miracle,” Thorpe told Global News. “It was like it was unbelievable. I was just so numb and then everything was so black and then there was this little bright spot that, ‘Hey some of them made it’.”
She and her husband are now awaiting word as to when they can go back to retrieve their animals.
“I will forever, ever be grateful to those firefighters and everyone, the Lyttonites, for what they have done,” Thorpe said. “I’ll never be able to repay them for that.”
Below is raw footage video from residents as they fled the wildfire in Lytton.